IN its second conviction in the coal block allocation cases, the special court Tuesday held Rathi Steel and Power Ltd (RSPL) and three of its officials guilty of cheating and criminal conspiracy in allocation of Kesla North coal block in Chhattisgarh.
Special Judge Bharat Parashar said that they had “deceived” the government by making false representation before then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who was the minister in charge for Coal.
Convicting RSPL and its officials — Managing Director Pradeep Rathi, Chief Executive Officer Udit Rathi and AGM Kushal Aggarwal — the court said the convicts with “dishonest intention” and in “pursuance to the common object of a criminal conspiracy” had, among themselves, “deceived” the Ministry of Coal on the basis of false representation regarding the issue of land. They showed a higher stage of progress towards establishing end-use project to procure allotment of coal block in its favour, the court ruled.
The judge said, “The false representation thus continued to hold ground even when the file containing recommendation of the screening committee went to the Prime Minister (Manmohan Singh) as minister-in-charge, Coal, for final approval…. It was primarily the government which was deceived into making allotment of a coal block in favour of RSPL while believing all such representation to be true, which in fact were not.”
The court will award quantum of sentence in the case on Wednesday. Twenty more coal block allocation cases are pending in the special court.